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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Kansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

License Plate Reader Helped Identify Robbery Suspect

TOPEKA, KAN. – A Topeka man was indicted in federal court Wednesday on a charge of robbing a Walgreens store, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

Bill Oliver Chavez, 42, Topeka, Kan., is charged with one count of robbing a commercial business. The indictment alleges that on Sept. 13, 2018, Chavez robbed a Walgreens store at 3696 S.W. Topeka, Blvd.

Documents filed in court allege the lifted his shirt and showed the cashier what appeared to be the butt of a gun. The cashier emptied the register and the robber left the store with the money.

Surveillance video showed the robber was driving a four-door Nissan Maxima with a sunroof. An investigator used data from a license plate reader to help narrow the search for cars of the type in the video and owners who fit the description of the robber.

If convicted, Chavez faces a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The Topeka Police Department and the FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag is prosecuting.

 

OTHER INDICTMENTS

 

Lamar Ray Steele, 28, Topeka, Kan., is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm following a felony conviction. The indictment alleges that on Sept. 29, 2018, Steele possessed a 9 mm handgun.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag is prosecuting.

 

John Wesley Towner, Jr., 30, Topeka, Kan., is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm following a felony conviction. The indictment alleges that on Jan. 23, 2018, he possessed a 9 mm handgun.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag is prosecuting.

         

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.

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Updated October 17, 2018